Crowdfunding is by far the hottest startup space of 2012. With the passing of the JOBSAct more and more startup founders are launching some kind of crowdfunding startup. We’ll soon see how successful they are after the SEC brings back the crowdfunding regulations and the crowdfunding sites really take off to fund startups in exchange for crowd-funded micro-equity.
One thing we started to see popping up this past summer with Brandery company SocStock, is hybrid crowdfunding companies. That is, crowdfunding startups that are part online and part offline. Where local community members can fund local businesses online via a website.
A new hybrid crowdfunding startup has emerged out of the University of Virginia called Seedville. The Charlottesville startup allows local residents to crowdfund local businesses. In it’s current form, instead of equity, the backers get perks.
Seedville’s inaugural project is for Matt Rohdie and his organic donut company called Carpe Donut. Rohdie is looking to raise $15,000 in 40 days to start a Carpe Donut food truck. He’s hoping to raise the money to outfit and decorate the mobile donut production facility and sales vehicle.
Jessica Lee, one of the co-founders of Seedville is also a big fan of Rohdie’s delicious treats. She and her three student co-founders are using their reward based crowdfunding model to help back Rohdie’s project. Backers will get free donuts and at some levels even a free daily rental of the truck.
“Kickstarter is very broad and focused on creativity, film and artists that want funding,” Lee said to cvilletomorrow.org . “We want to focus on small businesses. We want to mentor small businesses through this crowd-funding process.”
UVa law school professor, entrepreneurship teacher and one of Lee’s advisors, Richard D.Crawford thinks that the Seedville project is a great thing.
“I think it’s going to be a major method for small businesses, particularly the type that will never be the Microsofts of the future,” Crawford said. “It will be the way they get funded increasingly.”
Crawford also feels that the passing of the JOBSAct is a good thing for Lee and her other student co-founders. “This law will allow use of online solicitation for small businesses on a much bigger scale than what is allowed under today’s securities laws,” Crawford said. “Anyone will soon be able to invest in a small start-up around Charlottesville, but today there are some serious restrictions to use of the Internet to communicate with sources of funds.”
The campaign for Carpe Donut was launched on Friday and has made $150 towards it’s $15,000 goal. Rohdie is looking to purchase a Grumman P30 step van and a Belshaw Mark II “donut robot”.
Lee is hopeful that Rohdie’s project will get fully funded which will be a testament to both Carpe Donut and Seedville.